City a century ago Pt III
by Nancy Chute Marcotte
Walter Keyes Hamlin began writing journals of his daily life at least by the late 1800s. At one time, his daughters Alice and Flora had kept many of them. Today, the Waterford Historical Society owns two of them (1921 and 1922), while I have three of them (1924, 1925 and his partial final journal of 1938).
I don't know where the others have gone but there were some older ones in the W.H.S. collection at one time (see sidebar in Issue 34 by the late Rev. B. F. Wentworth, who reviewed material for our 1976 book).
Born in 1854 at the America Hamlin farm under Hawk Mt. where the earliest Hamlins settled, W. K. Hamlin was a slight, ambitious man who was educated in Waterford schools and married in 1878. He went off to Connecticut with his bride, Clara Bell Hamlin, to learn carriage and wheel manufacturing.
Will Abbott, above, poses with his pure-bred Jersey heifer in front of the Carding Mill Pond. Will married Flora Hamlin.
By 1883, they were back in South Waterford, living first at the family farm with his brother James and later at the small house (“Brookways,” still standing) across from his carding and box mills and just down the hill from his creamery.
In 1913-14, he renovated and modernized the big house once called “Oscar Brown Hotel” (see 1976 Waterford History, page 35.) This house remains in the Hamlin family today, having passed from W. K. to his daughter Alice Warren and from her to her nephew (W. K.'s grandson, Albert's son) Walter “Bud” Hamlin. Bud's widow, Clara, and daughter, Cynthia, live there today with other members of their family.
When W. K. and his Clara lived there, their daughter, Carrie Haynes, and family lived across the street; daughter, Flora Abbott, lived up the street where she would operate a store and post office; son, Albert, and his wife, Marion, lived just above Flora's place in the house where Albert Jr.'s widow, Gertrude, and family live today. Later, W. K.'s daughter, Jane, and her husband Arthur Sanderson moved from their Harrison farm to “Brookways.”
Hamlin Family Enclave
South Waterford “City” was quite a family enclave. W. K. Hamlin was an entrepreneur with several businesses operating at all times. In addition, he was a civic guiding light and a member of several fraternal organizations. The men who worked for him did work for the town on his contract. As did most businessmen in those days, he also did extensive farming, logging and shipping operations. His daily journals kept track of all these activities. It's an interesting look at daily life in a Maine town.
The W.K. Hamlin “Brookways” home with the Carding Mill on the right.